Transparent Writing: Why Personal Experience and Opening Yourself Up will Lead to Greatness

by Marcus Sheridan

transparent-writingThis article comes as a direct result of Monday’s post where we were able to discuss the 7 keys to writing like you talk, a skill we all seem to agree is a necessity if we’re to become great writers and bloggers. But what really surprised me about all the comments and emails that came in afterwards was the focus/debate on sharing personal experiences and opening up( or not) on one’s blog. Here are a few (of the many) quotes and thoughts I found rather interesting:

Andrey :

I have to deal with this problem. I’m in the process of figuring out what is the best way. I realize that if I start to tell my personal stories, I’ll have to tell many other stories too to be real, and that is scary. If I start, I won’t be able to stop, and who knows what people will think of that REAL ME that will emerge from the abyss.

Christina (Cash Campfire):

With that said, I admit that when I first started blogging a year or so ago, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and ended up taking the more formal approach to my writing. As a result, that blog suffered.

It was only until I was able to find my voice and read other successful blogs (so that I could get used to the blogging style) that I began to realize that getting more personal and letting the real me shine through helped my blog to grow, as my readers got to know me.

JK (Hustler’s Notebook):

With this post, I’ve created a challenge for myself– To make my blog posts more like my comments. I know that I get loose on comments – but in my own post writing – I tend to lean on the more informational side. That’s just my style in a way – but I think the incorporation of more of my personality will help take me to the next level. Believe it or not, I have a lot of life experience driven perspective that can be of impact – once I release it.

First, let me thank all of those persons that commented on the post. I thought it was one of the more interesting conversations we’ve had here on The Sales Lion as it certainly stimulated thought.

Open or Closed?: That is the Question

That’s why this follow up article had to be written. Many of you are having a debate. Is it time to open up? Do people really want to hear your life stories? Do you really want to share these personal experiences? All relevant questions. All worthy of debate.

If I were to ask you what part of my blog gets clicked the most, what would you say? C’mon, look around for a second and make a guess……

If you guessed the photos of my family on the bottom right of the page, then you sir/madam, are correct. In fact, the photos in my little gallery down there get clicked 4 times more than ANY other page on this site.

So why is this? What’s up with that? Are all of you, my dear readers, a bunch of voyeuristic freaks? ;-) Of course not. You just want to know a little more about the guy named Marcus and his story.

It’s all about Relationships

I feel no different. When I go on your blogs, one of the first things I’ll always do is visit your about page. You see, it’s all about relationships, isn’t it? You want to know if I’m the type of guy worthy of investing your time and energy (relationship). I want to know the same about you.

Let me pick on my buddy JK for a second. I love that guy. He is awesome. We all know that JK Hustle leaves unbelievable comments here and on other blog he frequents. Because he was so wonderful with his comments on here, I made it a point to find out more about the guy. When I went to his site I discovered he had a nice about page, but still, there was more to be told.

That’s when I made it a point to connect with JK. Since that time, we’ve emailed each other on quite a few occasions. He has shared with me his history and once he even sent me a photo of his family. And wow, what a beautiful family he has! JK may not have realized this, but that simple photo impacted how I saw the guy. Why? Because at that point I knew we had a lot more in common other than just the fact that we were two bloggers with a passion for self-improvement. It turns out we share similar views on spiritual matters, family matters, temporal matters, etc.

Through this process of communication, I’m now a loyal fan of JK. We have a relationship. I’ll work to help him any way I can and I know he’ll do the same for me.

In my opinion, this is what life, and the internet, is all about—building strong relationships with others. And by so doing, everyone benefits. It’s the law of reciprocity at its finest.

The Power of Personal Experience

This is also why I have such a strong testimony of the power of personal experiences and stories. Simply put, they are the highest form of writing and communication. Once a writer lets others in his or her ‘world’, a relationship of trust will be built not previously attainable. Also, in terms of general effect, stories have a major ‘sticky’ factor.

When friends and emailers contact me regarding this blog, what do you think is always a common theme? Yep, the stories. For whatever reason, many people like them. Obviously, I’m happy to hear this, but I’m more happy to know that they actually remember many of the stories found herein. Writings can be powerful and moving, but if they’re forgettable, then what’s the use?

The Greatest Example

One other example before we close. Who is the most famous communicator of all time? Give up? Here’s a clue, he lived about 2000 years ago and we tend to talk about Him quite a bit during this time of the year….

If you guessed Jesus, you’re right. No matter what your thoughts on the Man are, His teachings have been produced, read, and discussed more than any person in the history of the world. And how did He teach? Yes, that’s right, in parables. Or, should we say, stories..

The Time has Come

So is it time for you to open yourself up a little more to readers? Should you be pulling more from the experiences of your life? Well, you know my thoughts by now, but just remember that you needn’t share everything. Believe it or not, there are many facets to my life not shared here on this blog. But at the same time, I know that if life teaches me a lesson, it could very well help others. And that’s what this is all about. I want to help. I have to help. Great communication is my tool for so doing, and I’d challenge any writer who has yet to show their personal side to open up a little. Tell us your thoughts. Be as transparent as possible.

Andrey, who are you, really? We want to know. And believe it or not, I think there’s a big part of you that wants to tell. :-)

I know you’re busy with gifts and family, but if you have a second, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Is opening up for you? Just look at your comments as a little Christmas gift to that poor guy named Marcus. ;-)

A big THANKS to all of you.

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